Fort Aguada North Goa

History Of Goa

The history of Goa stretches way back to the 3rd Century BC, followed by the arrival of the Portugese in the year 1498, who were to rule over Goa until 1961 which makes it the longest held Colonial possessions in the world.

Spice Trade

Goa is situated on the west coast of India was the largest trading centre and the Portugese arrived as Merchants with the intention of setting up a colony and therefore gaining control of the spice trade from other European powers after all other land routes to India had been closed by the Ottoman Turks.

As one makes their way around Goa you cannot help but notice the Portugese influence in the culture and traditions of the goan people.

Prior Portugese Rule

Goa is the 3rd Century BC was part of the Mauryan Empire then passing under the rule of the Satavahnas of Kolhapur, and around 2000 years ago it was passed onto the Chalukya Dynasty, who were to have control over it for the next 170 years. Over the next few centuries, Goa was to be ruled by a number of dynasties until the year 1312 where it came under the governance of the Delhi Sultanat even though it had a weak grip on the region and by 1370 they were forced to surrender and come under the rule of the Vijayanagara Empire.

The Vijayanargara monarchs held onto the terrority til the year 1469, when it was appropriated by the Bahmani Sultans of Gulbarga. After the crumbling of that dynasty the area fell to the hands of Adil Shahis of Bijapur who were to make Velha Goa there auxillary capital. The secretariat as it is known, is Panji's oldest surviving building, originally built by the muslim ruler Yusef Adil Shah of Bijapur around 1500. It was actually Adil Shah's summer palace come fortress and formed an important part of his defence but it was no match for the might of the Portugese and after a failed attempt by Afonso De Albuquerque in 1510 but later the same year the portugese returned with reinforcements and finally usurped Goa ( Ilhas region) from Bijapur.

Portugese Conquest

Afonso de Albuquerques troops stormed the building(Now known as the secretariat but was formerly Adil Shas palace) in 1510. Soon afterwards it was converted into a rest house for the Portuguese Viceroys, who used it for an overnight stop, on their way to and from Portugal Opposition did come in the year 1668 and it was lead by the Chatrapti, but even after repetetive attempts he was unable to win Goa from the Portuguese and even after capturing the capital in 1685 and penetrating his Maratha army peacefully in entire Central and North Goa but could not retain Goa and had to move on to the Deccan plateau to handel the situation that had risen due to the sudden attacks from the Moguls.

Opposition did come in the year 1668 and it was lead by the Chatrapti Shivaji , but even after repetetive attempts he was unable to win Goa from the Portuguese and even after capturing the capital Panaji in 1685 and penetrating his Maratha army peacefully in entire Central and North Goa but could not retain Goa and had to move on to the Deccan plateau to handel the situation that had risen due to the sudden attacks from the Mogul's. With the Portuguese came their religion and culture and by the year 1560 leading up to 1812 many local residents were converted to Christianity by missionaries.Many churches which do stand tall in all their glory and splendor were former temples which were demolished and churches constructed on them .The distinct Portuguese names that many Christian goan's bear till date are a relic of the time when natives were forced to adopt a portuguese name at the time of conversion.

Decline of Portugese Rule over Goa

The dawn of the 16th century meant the decline of the Portuguese trading empire and by then the Dutch had seized control of the spice trade which was originally Portugal's main reason for its colonization in the far east and as a result had to have Brazil as the centre of its colonial empire. Goa was soon to have two attacks on it by the Dutch , one being in 1603 and the other in 1640, but it did survive both these naval attacks . Goa was almost over run by the independent Indian nation of Marathas in 1683, but the plans were halted when the Mughal Empire to the north invaded Marathas.

Fight For Freedom Pinto Revolt

The Pinto Revolt in 1787 paved the way for revolts in the 19th century by the Ranes. The first revolt against the Portuguese rule in goa came in the form of what is known as the Pinto Revolt 1787 , where in many priests who weren't happy with the discrimination against them with respect to the issue of promotions in the clerical hierarchy. This revolt was not to stay long and after a few deportations and executions was crushed ,but this did not mean the Portuguese were to have no more threats and by the year 1797-98 and another in the year 1802-1813 the British gained control of goa twice , only to be removed from power over Goa and the Portuguese rule over Goa resumed , but these short times of glory for the British in Goa meant lasting problems for the Portuguese in Goa as the Goan population started emigrating to other areas of India and with the birth of the railroad links with British India and the opening of the port of marmagoa to other Indian traffic, one in 1881 and the latter in 1878 led to even larger number of emigrants and this meant that Goa's isolation decreased.

Free Goa

The 19th century also saw the rise of a political class and constitutional reforms. The 19th (1800-1900) century can be characterized as being a period of reforms, awakening of the media and communications, and not forgetting the era of political revival. The Rane's of Goa are well known for their several attempts to dislodge the Portuguese from Goa. The have been all in all about fourteen rebellions out of which the one in 1852 led by Dipaji Rane proved to be fruitful as he carried on the fight against the Portuguese forces for almost four years, and eventually the Portuguese government were forced to make peace with the rebels and Dipaji Rane was awarded a sword of honour and the honorary title of Captain.

Last Revolt of the Ranes

The last revolt of the Ranes took place in 1912, two years after the proclamation of a republican regime in Portugal. This time there were two groups, one which was lead by Morya Sawant from the northern side and the other by Jil Sawant from the southern area. These were joined by one Christian, Custodio who was a toddy-tapper by profession. In order to crush the revolt of these two groups, the Portuguese government had ordered a contingent of Negro troops from Mozambique. Even they could not succeed in suppressing the revolt, but the Portuguese ultimately succeeded in doing away with the organizers.Custodio was shot dead at Assonora, Morya Sawant was beheaded while in his sleep and Jil Sawant was trapped and caught, imprisoned and finally deported to the island of West Africa, where he died in exile.

The Portuguese ruled over Goa for nearly four hundred years. They ruled Goa with a high degree of repression, and did convert Hindus to Christianity by force, and this is evident in the fact that many Hindus fled to neighboring territories. However, unlike the British, they never discriminated against the native population on account of colour. In view of this good relationship, the press in Goa was somewhat free and if at all they gave expression to any demands in the later part of the 19th and early 20th century, it was for administrative and financial autonomy. Freedom from Portugal was far off in those days. However, it was only in 1926 when Portugal after a short spell of the Republican form of government had the dictatorial form of government more in practice and newspapers and periodicals were to only function as mouthpieces for the government.

Mahatma Gandhi's movement in India for independence filled the people of Goa with hope that with India free from the British rule ,Goa too would be free , but no one might have imagined that it would take around fourteen years after India's independence to dislodge the Portuguese , which was ordered by the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Lohia's Civil Liberty Movement

The suppression of liberties and the intolerable conditions created by the dictatorship for the Goan people was what brought the great Indian socialist leader Dr. Rammanohar Lohia to Goa and it was there, at a public meeting in Margao on 18th June 1946, he launched a movement for civil liberties which set fire to a mass movement for freedom from Portuguese rule and it is this that can be termed as the beginning of the last phase of the freedom struggle of Goa. Dr. Lohia's attempt was different and unique; it was a message of freedom to the Goan people. People in thousands from towns and far off parts of Goa came together in Margao. There was a sense of nervousness on the part of the authorities for they had no clue as to how to face the developing situation. The police and military personnel were posted at strategic points, fully armed with machine guns and other weapons of war. Before the arrival of Dr. Lohia on the spot, the police attempted to break up the crowds ,but this was to no avail and only may have shifted their positions but continued to stand their ground.

Dr Lohia truly incited a hunger for freedom in the hearts of the People of Goa ,and it was this feeling that lead to the shutting down of shops and businesses and thus displaying a feeling of oneness with the cause for Freedom. It took fourteen years after the independence of India for Goa to gain Independence from Portuguese rule. Different organizations started for the purpose of helping Goa in the struggle for freedom. Some of them were, the Goan People's Party, Azad Gomantak Dal, and the United Front of Goans, the Quit Goa Organization and the Goa Liberation Council . The Indian National Congress and Praja Socialist Party did do their best , but it was to not make much of a difference in the stance that the Portuguese had taken . Goan nationalists took the first opportunity to attack the Portuguese at its weakest point and succeeded . The United Front of Goans under the leadership of Mr. Francis Mascarenhas drove the Portuguese out of Dadra on 24 July 1954 and subsequently, the bigger territory of Nagar-Haveli with its capital at Silvassa was liberated on 2nd August by members of the Azad Gornantak Dal, and thus the Goan Liberation Movement which was seen as being dormant for about eight years had woken up and had begun to show purpose for its very existence.

On 15th August 1954 , India's Independence Day, three batches of Goan satyagrahis entered Goa and were arrested, beaten , tried and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment. And it was reported that some of the satyagrahis brutally treated in the jails might be deported to Portugal and the Portuguese colonies of Africa, the Government of India lodged a strong protest and a threat that these actions would have far reaching repercussions and it was these threats by the Government of India that had immediate effect. 15 August 1955 was the date that saw some 3,000 volunteers, including women, entering Goa from different points on the India-Goa borders.This drove the Portuguese military and police to not only lathi-charge the unarmed and non-violent satyagrahis but they also opened fire on them and as a result a number of the satyagrahis were shot dead and many wounded seriously. Newspapers did report the killings of the non-violent satyagrahis and India was shocked with the reporting .Prime Minister Nehru speaking in the Lok Sabha on 16 August 1955, described the firing by the Portuguese on unarmed and non-violent satyagrahis as "brutal and uncivilized in the extreme." The satyagraha movement continued for a few days but, the Government of India restricted people going to Goa as satyagrahis.

Condemnation of Portugese Rule over Goa

The period from 1955 to 1961,saw the Goan and the Indian political parties organise public meetings and adopt resolutions condemning Portuguese rule. The national newspapers in India and the papers started by Goans were mailed to members of Parliament in England, members of Congress in America, and to leaders all over the world and these helped in publicizing the happenings in Goa and made the people in India and abroad aware of the situation in Goa.

In October 1961,representatives from foreign countries , namely Africa, brought about a change in the stance that the prime minister Nehru had taken , and at the conclusion of the four day seminar at a large gathering for a public meeting Nehru stated ''We have to think afresh now because of the happenings in Goa; particularly in the last few months, cases of torture have come to our notice and the terror that is spread there by the Portuguese. When I say afresh, I mean that we have been forced into thinking afresh by the Portuguese to adopt other means to solve this problem. When and how we do it cannot be forecast now. But I have no doubt that Goa will soon be free'' and it was this statement by Nehru by the audience. But this warning was ignored by the Portuguese. Finally after 450 years of being colonized ,on 17th December 1961 India's Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru ordered the military invasion and liberation of Goa and it was the 3,000 ill-equipped troops of the Portuguese which saw them surrender after being outnumbered by 30,000 Indian troops, supported by the Indian air force and navy.

Independance Day in Goa

Thus at last the Portuguese Governor general Vassalo da Silva surrendered. A new age begun where Goa was to breathe the air of freedom and was to integrate with India just three days on 19th December 1961.December 19th , is celebrated as Independence day in Goa and thus this 20th century was a century of liberation, empowerment, urbanization of the state of Goa and most importantly self rule.